Friday, August 30, 2013
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Some books take years to develop. This one began as a self-published mini-comic, then was published in France, then moved to a web-comic format, and is now available in print form. After all of the time and translations, I was very pleased to find that the story is well developed, as are the characters. Delilah is an adventurer and troublemaker who has great skill as a fighter and tactician as well great intelligence and a huge sense of adventure. In the course of her travels Erdemoglu Selim, the titular lieutenant, mistakenly falls in with her after his superiors falsely assume he is in league with the wily and roguish Delilah. It is either be executed or run, and he runs away with her.
Reluctantly cast together, the duo escape many scrapes and experience various adventures and misadventures. This page captures the flavor of their exploits:
Delilah is the hyper-capable one, but eventually Selim earns his keep as an adventurer and the maker of the best cup of tea in the Mediterranean. The dynamic between these travel companions is refreshing, more mutual respect that forced romance, and the art is colorful, vibrant, and energized. The action sequences are well rendered as are more quiet moments. Not out-shown by the art, the story is at once surprising, fun, and full of fantastical touches. For a debut, this work shows much artistic maturity and craft.
The book's creator Tony Cliff is an artist, animator, and illustrator who shares much of his works in progress on his blog. He has done much commercial work and has been nominated for Eisner, Shuster, and Harvey Awards for anthologized work. He also has another, shorter Delilah Dirk book available here. Cliff speaks much more about his work in this interview.
All of the reviews I have read for this book deem it praiseworthy. Kirkus Reviews described it as "fast-paced and unabashed fun" in their starred review. Cory Doctorow called it "a marvelous and exceptionally lovely graphic novel that ranges far and wide, buckling titanic quantities of swash as it goes." Stephanie Cooke declared it "something that almost anyone can enjoy."
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is published by First Second. The first two chapters and more are available at the book's official page. Although much of this book is available online, I think this book is beautifully presented and is well worth owning.
Thank you, Gina, for the review copy!
ADDENDUM 9/3/2013: A sequel has just been announced: http://comicsbeat.com/first-second-announces-second-delilah-dirk-book/.
ADDENDUM 9/12/2013: Check out this interview with Tony Cliff: http://blogs.slj.com/goodcomicsforkids/2013/09/11/interview-tony-cliff-and-delilah-dirk-and-the-turkish-lieutenant/